NPR News

On a Sunday afternoon during their honeymoon in November 1961, Mario Pavone and his bride Mary drove from Connecticut to New York, to a club date that would be documented on a pivotal album. John Coltrane: Live at the Village Vanguard featured the saxophonist's expanding group with Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, with music so powerful that Pavone — an aspiring bassist — could not let it go. When Coltrane died in July 1967, Pavone made his move. He quit his job and drove again to New York, to the funeral.

Christian McBride And Inside Straight On JazzSet

May 27, 2010

Rhonda Hamilton, guest-hosting for Dee Dee Bridgewater, is onstage at the 30th annual Detroit International Jazz Festival. She introduces Christian McBride as "the premier bass player of his generation." All in the huge Motor City crowd cheer for that.

When the National Endowment for the Arts informed Kenny Barron that he'd been named a Jazz Master — that's the highest honor in jazz that the nation bestows — "I was elated and surprised," Barron says. "And then I kept thinking, 'Damn, am I really this old?' "

This segment, from Jan. 18, 2008, is part of our Vintage Cafe series, in which we revisit some of our best studio performances. Here, we remember an Americana legend and drummer for the '60s rock group The Band, Levon Helm, who died in 2012.

Levon Helm first picked up a guitar at age 8, but soon switched to drums. Though best known as the famous drummer for the rock group The Band, Helm continued to influence music with his collaborations and solo works.

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